The former Grammar School No. 91, "one of the finest examples of the [Romanesque Revival] style in the Bronx", was built in 1889 "of brick and Harlem River stone". It was designed by George W. Debevoise, the predecessor of Charles B.J. Snyder.
In 1895, when the school was "known for its cleanliness, the entire building being especially inviting", a delegation of visiting school officers was "entertained at assembly by singing from the school, solos from two young lady pupils, and an attractive drill with umbrellas and dumb bells. The visitors expressed their gratification with the discipline of the school and the uniformly neat and refined appearance of the children."